In the Real World
It’s not uncommon for students at liberal arts colleges to be asked, “What are you going to do with a degree in that?”—especially when their major is something like philosophy or French studies. Well, one recent grad took that French studies degree to work at a handbag company—and it wasn’t at Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Katie Wight ’09, a French studies major, has the skills to manage marketing and social media for a Vermont-based bag and schwag company.
Katie Wight ’09 didn’t need to major in economics to take on the marketing and social media for Flashbags, a small, Vermont-based company that produces handbags from recycled newspapers. “Even though I didn’t major in business and marketing,” said Wight, “coming with Colby’s liberal arts perspective, a wide variety of networking and critical-thinking skills, I saw an opportunity to contribute all I learned to a company that needed it.”
After graduating, Wight was drawn to Flashbags’ grassroots atmosphere. “I started working in production and then I saw a huge opportunity [in social media],” she said.
Flashbags has been featured in Vermont Woman, Vermont Life, Vermont Business Magazine, and was on the cover of the Best of Burlington. Wight has expanded the company’s marketing to social media, using sites like Facebook and YouTube, where she periodically posts behind-the-scenes videos from the company’s warehouse. Additionally, she has been marketing the handbags to college students with the hopes of using on-campus Flashbags representatives to secure the young-adult clientele.
As she looks ahead at expanding the company, she looks back at the Colby apparel she and her classmates sported on the Hill. With this insight, Wight hopes to expand FlashSchwag, the company’s “environmentally responsible solution to corporate branding and gifting,” to colleges and universities. And, given that most of the company’s Facebook fans are college-age, she already has an audience.